The TSA recently announced that it was considering doing away with security screening at smaller airports across the country. No decision has been made yet, but the idea has sparked controversy and rightfully so.
September 11, 2018 will be the 17thanniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Two of the hijackers of American Airlines Flight 11, Mohamed Atta and Abdulaziz Alomari, drove from Boston to Portland, Maine the day before the attacks. On the morning of 9-11, they flew back to Boston, where they boarded the flight to Los Angeles. Some people have hypothesized that the two men did this to avoid the potentially stricter security scrutiny they might have received in Boston.
America’s airports make up a vast network, and the security chain is only as strong as its weakest link. In other words, the efficacy of the security on any particular flight depends not just on the security efforts of the agents at the big airports, it depends just as much on the efforts of the agents at the small airports too.
The TSA’s idea leaves smaller planes, departing from the smaller airports, completely exposed. It also subjects the larger airports and larger planes to risk. If the TSA dispenses with security at the airport in Longview, Texas, for example, then a terrorist could board a flight there, fly into D/FW International and then board any flight anywhere without ever having to go through security. That is just an objectively bad idea. Whatever amount of money is saved is certainly not worth the risk.
Hopefully the reports regarding the TSA are just someone thinking out loud and do not reflect a real plan that is being seriously considered. Surely the folks at the TSA have more sense than this. Surely.